When I was 17 I sat down and told my family I was gay. I was a first-generation migrant – fifth generation South African, ethnically Indian, now a newly-minted Australian.
When I first told them, I was met with a lot of fear and resistance. The first thing I was told was that I was forgetting my Indian heritage, that being gay was something I had learned. I was devastated and felt alone. It began a ten-year journey of conflict for me as I felt I had to choose between whom I was and whom everyone else wanted me to be.
The turning point for me was 10 years later, the moment I confided my story for the first time to a friend and found acceptance. Each time I told my story, I was bewildered as I found more and more acceptance in the world. It even led me to meeting other people I could see in myself – I felt visible.
This visibility gave me courage. Courage to be real with the world. The freedom to pursue my dreams, on my terms. To live an authentic life true to my values: of caring for the world, being part of inclusive communities, and connecting with others. After 7 years of doing the ‘right’ thing – studying Law and Economics, working at a top tier corporate workplace – I quit my job to pursue my dreams.
My partner and I bought a ute (Toyota Hilux) and built our own 2x2m tiny home on the back of a box trailer. We set out to live life deliberately, and meet with and work with communities where they are. We spent the last 4 years travelling 60,000km (one and a half times the circumference of the Earth) working with the most incredible and vibrant rural Australian communities. Doing so, I saw a lot of similarities in these communities, between my story and theirs. One community really stuck with me. The town of Wilcannia, nestled on the edge of the Darling River in red desert country, 9 hours North-West of Canberra, has the lowest life expectancy in the world. 37 years of age. I was devastated by the fact that the biggest killer of people my age is suicide. If you live in a rural community, you are 2x more likely to commit suicide.
So, MIKS CHAI was born. The idea is simple. We make delicious chai for you to share. We believe that sharing stories around a hot (or ice cold) cuppa chai saves lives.
We searched Australia high and low for the best ingredients, and made over 1000 cups of tea to find the ultimate recipe. Be proud of who you are and bring the fire and passion to who you want to be.